With pitchers and catchers starting actual baseball work this morning, no time like the present to try to brainstorm what storylines we'll be watching during the next six weeks.
Some of them are obvious and need few pixels re-spilled here. Miguel Cabrera will be moving across the diamond to third base. Prince Fielder will be donning the Old English D. Someone has to play second base. The Tigers will be choosing a fifth starter from a group of prospects and non-roster invitee veterans. (Or, none may turn out to be acceptable and a spring training trade made.)
Other stories will have disproportional amount of analysis spent on what amounts to little on the grander scheme. That is usually the case with the 24th and 25th men on the roster. Which backup infielder gives the Tigers the most flexibility? Do you want your final outfielder to be a better fielder or batter? And what about that last spot in the bullpen? If you're the player, if you're friends or family of the player, these things are of huge importance. If you're a fan, well, I don't remember a lot of teams that go through 162 games without making changes along the way. What the fringes of your roster look like in April really aren't that big of a deal.
That said, expect us to follow the storylines closely because we're a blog. It's what we do.
If the story lines aren't based on what player will do this, what that player won't do, then you're thinking of team issues. The big one is obviously defense. The infield could be historically bad; maybe it will just be bad. The outfield doesn't have to be bad, but the corners have the potential to be frightening. What about team speed? Do they even need it? Is the lineup better than people say or worse than people say? I've seen reaction both ways. Can we count on players not to let their guard down knowing the batter behind them will pick them up from any letdowns? Some say that was the issue in 2008.
So many thoughts swirling around in our heads today, all to be settled over the coming nine months. What story lines are you going to keep your eyes on?